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BCO research reveals ‘Wellness Matters’

New research by the British Council for Offices (BCO) has revealed that wellness does matter following a year-long study into Health and Wellbeing in offices.

The completion of of study “Wellness Matters: Health and Wellbeing in offices and what to do about it” provides definitive guidance on how to enable Health and Wellbeing across an office building’s lifecycle

The study critiques existing Health and Wellbeing measurement and certification, identifies the most recent and relevant medical evidence justifying a proactive approach to Health and Wellbeing in the built environment, and articulates the business case for investment in this space beyond simply improving productivity. Most significantly, the research delivers a practical and professional guide to creating a healthy environment across the different stages of a building’s life cycle, from design, construction and leasing to the most important aspect by time and value: occupation and asset management.

The report was previewed at the BCO conference in Berlin, May 2018, having been led by a consortium of Sentinel RPI, Elementa Consulting, Perkins +Will and Will+Partner’s, backed by medical and academic input from Royal Brompton, Imperial College and Queen Mary University. Evidence was reviewed from the USA, Europe and Globally. The findings inform the next BCO Guide to Specification, which is the industry-recognised standard for best practice in office development across the UK, also due to be published in early 2019.

Elaine Rossall, Chairman of the British Council for Offices’ Research Committee, commented: “The health and wellness agenda is, rightly, growing in importance and prominence. ‘Wellness Matters’ responds to this, and provides practical advice to BCO members on the issues surrounding Health and Wellbeing in offices and what they can do about it.

“There is still a perception in the industry that Health and Wellbeing is ‘just something an occupier does in its fit-out and staff management’ and by association investors, developers and designers need not concern themselves. We fundamentally challenge that – there are opportunities throughout a building’s lifecycle to enable change. Successful intervention should manifest in shorter voids for developers; greater income retention for investors and healthier, happier staff for occupiers who will gain from better recruitment and retention.”

Highlights from the study include its lessons for government. In creating the Wellness Matters Roadmap it became clear that the benefits from improved office wellness – and the costs of a failure to act – flow not only to individuals and organisations, but also to communities and the country as a whole. These impacts can be quantified, for example through reduced costs of health and social care and increased productivity.

The research will be launched at a seminar in London on 12 June.

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